Saturday, August 23, 2008

“One, Two, Threeee … “

It is every Mother’s mantra at some point of frustration! It’s a feeble attempt to coerce a recalcitrant child to action even if it works. How much better to somehow build into a child’s heart the desire to come, to obey right away.

My father is a Navy man. He expected obedience (almost with military precision). My siblings and I respected our parents in a huge way. We wanted to obey more than we didn’t.

My dad’s principle for parent/child instruction/response veered close to Alfred Lloyd Tennyson’s discription in “The Charge of the Light Brigade”:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die.

Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

(With apologies to Tennyson) I think my dad’s version is closer to:

Theirs* not to make reply, theirs not to reason why, theirs but to do or (risk) die.
Into the valley of Life rode the six Robesons.

(*as in his children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren
Note: This is not threat nor inappropriate punishment – No, never think that! He just instructed us that instant obedience was very important because it could mean the difference between being safe and being caught up in danger.)

Take a gander at Luke 14:12-24. Three times Jesus repeats:

“… invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.” (vs. 13-14a)

“Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” (Luke 14:21)
“Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house may be full.” (Luke 14:23)

I’m guessing Jesus has a parental perspective here. He wants recalcitrant children like you and me to obey! It is important for our sakes. It is crucial for the sake of the Kingdom!

Like the six Robeson children who wanted to obey more than not out of love and respect, we should want to obey Jesus because it’s the right thing to do. We obey Jesus because we love Him. It is good for our own hearts. It’s the way to build God’s kingdom!

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